KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (KHON2) — The 4th of July celebrations come to a deadly end on Hawaiʻi Island for one person.
Hawaiʻi island police said a 20-year-old Kailua-Kona man died following a fireworks incident on Tuesday, July 4.
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According to police, Kona patrol officers and fire department personnel responded to a possible illegal fireworks call shortly before 10:30 p.m.
It took place in a retail parking lot along Kamakaeha Avenue.
When officers got there, they said they found the man — who was identified as Glen John Nakata — lying on the ground with head injuries.
Bystanders told police they saw Nakata holding a fireworks launcher above his head prior to the incident.
“It’s just a vacant parking lot. We do believe that there were multiple individuals there during the incident celebrating the Fourth of July,” said Capt. Calvin Delaries, Hawaiʻi Police Department.
Police believe Nakata was possibly holding an aerial fIrework which is illegal.
“Witnesses reported that he was holding the firework above his head. Shortly thereafter, he was observed on the ground with what appeared to be an injury on his head,” said Delaries.
He was taken to the Kona Community Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
“It’s just a really sad event, very unfortunate that it happened; and again, our hearts go out to the family members and his friends and people like that,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth.
Roth points out there’s a good reason why aerial fireworks are illegal.
“I see people getting injured every year, and we try to put up messages warning people about these kinds of things. People think ‘oh, it’s never gonna happen to me’; but it can happen to anyone,” said Roth.
Nakata recently graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi’s Hawaiʻi Community College in 2022.
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The family have setup a GoFundMe for funeral expenses and to assist the family.
Police have launched an investigation and ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to call police.